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Kasparov says Putin title no compliment from Time magazine

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Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov said on Wednesday the Person of the Year 2007 title awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin by U.S. magazine Time was no compliment.
MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov said on Wednesday the Person of the Year 2007 title awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin by U.S. magazine Time was no compliment.

Earlier in the day Time declared Putin Person of the Year 2007 for bringing stability to his country and raising Russia's role on the global stage.

"The appraisal given by Time is almost in tune with the official Kremlin propaganda alleging that Russia has risen up from its knees coming a long way. There are certain problems with human rights, some drawbacks with freedom of speech, and the situation around corruption is poor, but the direction is correct, which is a major personal achievement for President Putin," Kasparov said adding that he disagreed with the opinion.

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of Putin, who he accuses of turning Russia into a "police state," was arrested in central Moscow in late November while leading a pre-election coalition rally for The Other Russia. Kasparov was held in custody for five days, on charges of violating laws on public meetings.

The politician criticized Time for having a "naive outlook" on Russian developments. He also said that the magazine declared Adolf Hitler Person of the Year 1938.

"Obviously, objective grounds could be found for this [nomination]," Kasparov said.

In an interview with Time magazine made last Wednesday Putin said the Russian radical opposition was an instrument used by some countries to influence Russia, which provoked the authorities into taking tough measures against its activists. Kasparov promised to comment on the statement within 24 hours.

The chess grandmaster said last Thursday he would pull out of the presidential race as the authorities had made it impossible for him to run.

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